The Sex Education Show Vs Pornography

// 30 March 2009

I missed the first series of Channel 4’s Sex Education Show, but will definitely be tuning in for the first installment of series 2 tonight at 9pm. This second series will focus on pornography’s effects on young people, and runs from tonight to Thursday:

In a world where many young people use porn to learn about sex, picking-up potentially dangerous behaviours and attitudes along the way, it’s time to fight back with some sex and relationship education. Accompanied by a team of sexual health experts, presenter Anna Richardson travels to secondary schools across the country to give young people the crucial sex education they are missing.

As part of the series, Anna also goes on an investigative journey looking into the pornification of today’s society and the effect it has on the nation.

Anna also meets people whose lives have been affected by porn, and talks to adults and young people alike about their attitudes and experiences.

I’ll put a review up tomorrow; unfortunately I’m on holiday for the rest of the week, but feel free to discuss the other episodes in comments.

Comments From You

Charlotte Cooper // Posted 30 March 2009 at 5:40 pm

My review of the first series of that show is a very negative one.

The first season actually appeared to be about the presenters problem with not being perfect enough at being sexy and needing to be waxed and buy new matching underwear to impress her beaux? I stopped watching it pretty sharpish.

Didn’t feel like it taught the audience anything. Or the kids that were involved. Gutted.

Jaime // Posted 30 March 2009 at 10:36 pm

Watching this right now. Not sure of it’s point other than to turn any discussion regarding porn into a Daily Mail style ”oh noes it’s corrupting our children!” bullsh*t. Very disappointing.

Amy2 // Posted 31 March 2009 at 12:37 am

Was interesting but again something which touches on sexism – but literally ‘touches’ .. with a bargepole.

The show like the first (and like other shows such as The Perfect Vagina) was too afraid to get to the root of the issue. We live in a hugely sexist culture, and these shows touch on sexism- related issues with a girly ‘maybe’. Totally funfeminist. Then it approaches a conclusion integral to the show but steps back, as it did with the first show.

Within a literal minute they found disturbing images of six year olds – from the presenter typing in ‘porn’ to google. Address the issue they did not, only to say how disturbing it was to the camera crew. The Perfect Vagina did something similar, when the presenter kept coming to the same conclusion women want their genetalia and to be generally like twelve year old girls. You can’t arrive at such conclusions from a programme, and then not go any further as to WHY this is.

You can poke around issues, get all the sexist comments from talking heads you want to make the programme, make all the grimaces – but this doesn’t move anything forward. It isn’t progressive but reflective when the obvious sexism isn’t stated only hinted at. Presenters screwing their faces up and shaking their heads a lot suggests it’s highlighting issues without going any further. Which is a shame because our culture needs a lot more.

Edward // Posted 31 March 2009 at 3:55 am

Having watched The Sex Education Show vs. Pornography, it seemed very clear that the show was quick to gloss over the issue of whether or not pornography was detrimental to teenagers’ sexual development. The show seemed to take it as a given that exposure to porn caused huge damage to teenagers’ perceptions of sex. With this assumption, the programme set about demonstrating how porn was readily available to the younger generations. Whether or not I agree with the overall message of the programme (that there should be stronger controls on the distribution of porn), it would have been much more persuasive had they given a decent and scientific reason for believing that porn was damaging to teenagers’ understanding of sex.

Antony // Posted 31 March 2009 at 2:15 pm

I watched (most) of the first episode of the new show last night, but it was turned off as my girlfriend thought I took it a little too seriously. First off; I do think that overall the show is a good idea – show teenagers a real cross section of the different shapes and sizes people come in and answer their questions frankly. Address the issues (briefly) of continued sexism in all facets of society connected to sexuality. All good. I do however disagree with raising ‘porn’ as some sort of immoral daemon at the heart of this and inciting parents anger by showing them the most outrageous and graphic porn they’re allowed. It seems a bit of an hypocrisy to one moment promote sexual openness, then to get parents riled at an ultimate conclusion of sexual openness. Consider: a young teenager is curious enough about what they have heard of to find graphic images somewhere and get ‘caught’ by their parents. Having seen this program they now feel justified in punishing their children having watched this program. Will this encourage a child to seek a more balanced and informed picture of sexuality? Of course not! It never would me or any of my sisters when young, we simply would have been more careful not to get caught next time. I like to think that I will not be angry or punish my children for watching porn, regardless of their age, as curiosity about sexuality is natural for every human and no-one should be made to feel ashamed of this. We are, after all, little more than neurotic apes who continue to teach each other that our naked body is something to shamefully hide and sexuality is something to be hushed, skirted around or simply ‘educated’. It is something that must be discovered by each individual, so surely our children should be free to discover it themselves….

Amy2 // Posted 31 March 2009 at 4:43 pm

Antony, I think neurotic apes is a bit much, don’t you? As you’re posting on a feminist site, feel free to read around some feminist literature on porn.

Also, why touch on sexism briefly, when it’s clearly aimed to look at sexism? sexism is what’s behind the show, behind all the anger the presenter goes through. Why does it need to be glossed over all the time?

dan // Posted 31 March 2009 at 11:08 pm

Censorship is what this is about.

My grandparents were married for 50 years, they never saw each other naked. On my grandmothers wedding night her mother gave her a bottle of chloroform and told her to sniff it and ‘it would be over before she knew it.’

My elder brother was electrocuted in the 1970’s for being a gay kid. He committed suicide in the 1980’s.

My friends and I masturbated to what we saw in the Littlewoods catalogue; my children masturbate to what they see on the internet. So? Her insipid argument seems to be that ‘we’ as well as our kids are being corrupted by the ‘body beautiful’ of the porn industry [whatever that is]. She makes no reference to the thousands, millions… of sex sites that accommodate every day people with every day bodies, every day ages, sizes, races and sexualities.

Is she one of our everyday Christian funder mentalists that has a history in advertising perhaps?

Gazza // Posted 1 April 2009 at 4:30 pm

Adding to what other people here have said, she also missed the point that pornstars are not famous for the look of their vaginas, most are shaven but they still come in all shapes and sizes. It is male genilalia in porn that is predomenantly off average, again predominantly shaven and almost never below 6 inches (5.75 the average), and often 7-10 inches although no mention of this. She diddnt even bring this point up, and left it up to a porn star to tell her. Also the point that male pornstars are generally much better built than the normal male was never mentioned. This is not to detract from the issues relating to the portrayal of women in porn, but merely a comment on the bias of this program.

Antony // Posted 3 April 2009 at 1:50 pm

Amy2 – I do not think ‘neurotic ape’ is a bit much. It is quite true, but our egos find this hard to accept. We are apes, and if an Orangutan (or any other animal – we are animals too) felt ashamed to be naked it would be considered neurotic. I agree, the porn industry as it stands is, generally, hugely sexist. It propagates all sorts of unachievable ideals of human form (for men as well as women), but that does not mean that looking at pictures of naked people is somehow dirty, immoral or wrong. It is natural for people of either sex to want to look at naked people. My point was that daemonising porn because it puts graphic and explicit sexual scenes misses the point AND is not likely to encourage children to have an open discourse with their parents. What really needs to be done is that people, not just children, need to be educated so they feel comfortable with their own shape. Making them feel ashamed of their natural curiosity as they start to be aware of their own body-image in a sexual way is not going to do this.

I would also like to mention that porn is a fantasy. I am sure that few women fantasize about boring, greasy and ugly geeks (although some may). As Dan mentioned; porn is available in all flavours suggesting so do people’s fantasies. I know as many women who like porn as men. Please look into Kinsey’s studies, as well as others, if you doubt this.

vanessa // Posted 10 April 2009 at 5:39 pm

I feel that opening up this discussion has to be good as teens have permanent access to porn now. And we need to stop being so bloody embarrassed about talking about sex, its’ around all the time, in the family home parents in bed, wedding nights, pink girly merchandise, sexy ads for everything! No one seems to talk about the pleasure of it! It’s all a big problem and the perfect vagina/penis issue is not helped by refined drawings in medical textbooks either. I sick to death of seeing unvarying diagrams (and few photos) of female genitals in medical books and this puts a massive pressure on women in particular and unlike men, we cannot see how much variation there is so easily! Also we have to undergo intimate exams in our 20s with all this to live up to, no wonder young women feel so mixed up. So at least it’s a start. The national statistics say it all don’t they!

Amy2 // Posted 10 April 2009 at 9:59 pm

Antony – hardly any of the men meet my fantasy in porn. Am I too, meant to get off on an 18 year old big boobed girl? Once again the perverted male mind is everybody’s.

Nothing reminds an intelligent girl more of the fact she lives in orangutan land than porn. I get what you’re saying – I have no issue with naked bodies either. Though porn- makers clearly have an issue with women’s naked bodies, being so desperate to obliterate them to dust in various acts that tell us we want pain, rape and hatred.

If porn is just about sex, it needs to stay but change. If it is about hatred of women and only for the male gaze, and refuses to change, it has to go.

whitewalls // Posted 11 April 2009 at 12:37 am

Pornography has nothing to do with ‘naked bodies’. What I and a lot of feminists oppose is the images of sexualised violence and degradation of women that has become mainstream pornography. Where women are called c****, w**** and b***** while being slapped, spat upon and having their heads flushed down toilets (swirlies), “ass to mouth” (where a woman fellates the man after anal (hers) penetration. Mainstream porn is now in the domain of woman hatred and has zero what so ever to do with ‘naked bodies’ or people having sex – it’s a clear cut message to keep us in our place as the sex class.

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